How to use your Mac for time-lapse like webcam shots

When searching for a script that captures images from my Macs internal camera, I found a small tool called ImageSnap. This small tool is very simple in its usage, but it’s one of the key tools when you want to use your Mac as a webcam.

ImageSnap is a Public Domain command-line tool that lets you capture still images from an iSight or other video source.


ImageSnap can be conveniently installed through package managers like Homebrew and MacPorts. One of the simplest methods to install ImageSnap is by executing the following command:

brew install imagesnap


To use ImageSnap, open the macOS terminal and navigate to the folder where all your images should be stored. In my case, I used a folder located in iCloud Drive so that I can access those files from any other device that uses the same iCloud account.

Then I just provided the time interval between the images by using the -t parameter:

imagesnap -t 60

A value of 60 will result in a picture every minute (= 60 seconds).

There are several other options for ImageSnap to fine tune your image capturing. The help output gives you all the details:

imagesnap -h
USAGE: imagesnap [options] [filename-or-dir]
Version: 0.2.16
Captures an image from a video device and saves it in a file.
If no device is specified, the system default will be used.
If no filename is specfied, snapshot.jpg will be used.
If timelapse is used, the filename argument can be a directory where files will be saved.
JPEG is the only supported output type.
  -h          This help message
  -v          Verbose mode
  -l          List available video devices
  -t x.xx     Take a picture every x.xx seconds
  -n num      Limit to <num> snapshots in -t timelapse mode
  -q          Quiet mode. Do not output any text
  -w x.xx     Warmup. Delay snapshot x.xx seconds after turning on camera (default 3sec)
  -d device   Use named video device

Foto von Adrian Schwarz auf Unsplash.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *